JUDE 20–21 – But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
THEME OF THE DAY. FIGHTING FOR AN EFFECTIVE PRAYER LIFE. D.M. Lloyd-Jones was arguably one of the great men of God in the 20th century. As a preacher in Wales and England, his influence was wide. His books are still available today as are his sermons on the internet. I cannot encourage you enough to read anything he wrote and listen to any sermon he preached. Your spiritual life will be rewarded and your walk with the Lord Jesus deepened. Concerning prayer, the “Doctor” as he was known said, “I think a case should be made for saying that the most difficult thing of all is to pray. Everything we do in the Christian life is easier than prayer.” He was right. Think about it in your own life as I do mine.
When it comes to reading our Bibles, our flesh isn’t overly resistant to carve out a few minutes a day for time in the scriptures. Faithfulness to church each Sunday? Oh, we may be tempted to “take a Sunday off” (don’t ever do that), but we may easily defeat this temptation as we execute a weekly routine. We also may serve in a ministry with little opposition.
The reason why these “spiritual things” I just mentioned are easy is because they may be done in the strength of self. We may actually “do” a lot of Christian things and activities in the strength of our flesh. Not so when it comes to prayer. Prayer is the most spiritual and important discipline a Christian and church will do. Be prayer-less as an individual or church, and we will be powerless, and our relationship with the Lord and other Christians will lack vitality, reality, and fall far short of not only Biblical Christianity, but God’s design for us in our walks with Him and one another. And real, effective, Biblical prayer will be fought relentlessly by the devil, the world and our flesh. Allow me to share two ways these spiritual foes will pull us away from building an effective and spiritual prayer life.
First, the devil, the world, and our flesh will seek to fill our lives with a ton of good things leaving no time for the best thing – prayer. And it is so easy to be a busy Martha instead of a spiritual Mary who kept the priority of seeking alone time with the Lord her highest priority – Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42). Let our spiritual foes determine our daily schedules and there will be no time for prayer. The spiritual loss will be significant in our lives.
The other way the devil, the world, and our flesh will keep us from a spiritually intimate prayer life with the Lord and His people is to play the “I am too tired card.” Remember Jesus at the start of His battle in the Garden of Gethsemane? He asked His disciples to “Watch” (which meant ‘pray’) with Him and they fell asleep (Luke 22:39-46). Friends, we must discipline our bodies. If we are too tired to pray alone and with other believers, perhaps we are giving too much of our energy to other things at the neglect of the best thing. Using me as an example, if I can stay up late watching a basketball game, but cannot attend a prayer meeting or give the Lord time in prayer due to fatigue, my priorities are wrong. Maybe yours are too if the flesh is keeping you from prayer.
It is a war to develop a Biblical prayer life, but the rewards are worth the battle – closeness to the Lord and deeper experiences of His wonderful Person. Go to battle today. The Lord will help you win!
PRAYER: “Lord, help me to seek You with a whole heart, a disciplined life, and a resolve to overcome my lazy flesh.”
QUOTE: “How much we desire to know the Lord in prayer will be determined by how willing we are to fight for it.”